The Upshot: Kiwi rockers offer pleasurable neural sensations via hints of Feelies, Replacements and sundry Flying Nun heroes.
BY BARRY ST. VITUS
Neuroscientists have discovered that when you hear a song that you really enjoy, it actually gives your brain a jolt of the neurotransmitter, domamine, giving you a physical, pleasurable sensation. So, it appears that ‘music junkies’ may be just that, pleasure seekers addicted to something that gets them a little high from listening. Perhaps those of us that chase this dragon can be called Dopaminers™, always digging for that next big rush?
The Salad Boys are a splendiferous discovery from down under, 2nd generation players of Kiwi pop, who have obviously learned much at the feet of the masters, and what a rush! Indeed, what a blessing and a luxury to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, remote, beautiful and wild New Zealand, (Christchurch and Dunedin in particular) plus, having a wealth of so much super-fine music buzzing around your head like a Flying Nun. [Go here: Wikipedia list of bands from N.Z.]
This trio (Joe Sampson, Ben Odering and James Sullivan) has been playing for a few years under this name, a mondegreen of a misheard lyric in the Feelies song, “Fa Cé La,” ‘silent void.’ It was supposed to be temporary, but they never got around to changing it. But, rightfully enough, their music on this debut album, shares many qualities with The Feelies, as well as classic Kiwi bands The Bats and The Clean/David Kilgour and the Heavy 8’s, bands that they’ve played with, along with Parquet Courts and Sebadoh…. all the cool kids. So, this album is a must-have for aficionados of these aforementioned bands and their simple, homespun, melodic music. There’s nothing resembling ‘metal’ here-in, despite the title.
“Here’s No Use,” “Better Pickups,” and the sleek and airy, “Bow To Your New Sensation,” are all very Clean-centric tunes. There’s a shift to straight-ahead indie rock with the tasty
“Dream Date,” and again with the melodic “Daytime Television” and the slow-tempo, sweet, “My Decay,” both infused with some underlying synth. The Feelies meet the Sadies on “No Taste Bomber,” another contender for my Best Song of the Year designation. Beat heavy “I’m A Mountain” offers elements of the Replacements, a little of whom might also be picked up in the slow, but powerful “Hit Her and Run,” which is about ¾ instrumental and interlude. The album wraps with “First Eight,” that calls forth the familiar ‘aw, shucks shuffle’ of the Kilgour brothers sound.
These salad days have been solid days for the Salad Boys, no matter how you toss it, making them a sterling addition to their musically rich NZ heritage. Pleasurable neural sensations are guaranteed.
DOWNLOAD: “No Taste Bomber,” “I’m A Mountain,” “Hit Her and Run,” and “Dream Date.”